Definition of prescind
: to withdraw one's attention
: to detach for purposes of thought
Did You Know?
Prescind derives from the Latin verb praescindere, which means "to cut off in front." "Praescindere," in turn, was formed by combining "prae-" ("before") and "scindere" ("to cut" or "to split"). So it should come as no surprise that when "prescind" began being used during the 17th century, it referred to "cutting off" one's attention from a subject. An earlier (now archaic) sense was even clearer about the etymological origins of the word, with the meaning "to cut short, off, or away" or "to sever." Other descendants of "scindere" include "rescind" and the rare "scissile" ("capable of being cut").
Origin of prescind
Latin praescindere to cut off in front, from prae- + scindere to cut — more at shed
First Known Use: 1650
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